Batsto Village—Wharton State Forest—Hammonton, New Jersey
There’s much to love about New Jersey and its southern pines. But for me Batsto Village in Fall just may hold the Pinelands top spot. Rich in maples, colors come alive transforming this once thriving iron works village into a canvas of orange wonder amidst architecture of an era gone by. With its history reaching back to the late mid 18th century, a near decade before the shot heard ’round the world, Batsto Village has gone through several historical periods of development before its final purchase by the state of New Jersey in the mid 1950s. It has served dutifully as a great public destination ever since.
A couple weekends ago, I made the thirty minute drive with some friends to photowalk these hallowed Autumn grounds. Conditions were ideal—roughly a week or so before foliage peak with near perfect golden hour light. In the parking lot, unsure which lens to rock, I opted for the 14mm prime and ditched the tripod. I committed to myself to walk, shoot, and enjoy. Nothing more, nothing less. So that’s precisely what I did, and I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures from that one fine October afternoon.
The Batsto Mansion
The 32-room Mansion, sits at the heart of Batsto Village, and served as the former residence of generations of ironmasters and reflects the prosperity enjoyed during Batsto’s industrial years. In the late 19th century, the structure was renovated into the elegant Italianate style of architecture by Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia businessman. Fourteen rooms, including the parlors, dining room, library and bedrooms, are currently open to the public for tours. — source
I’ve yet to take the tour, but I must get in there with my camera someday soon. For any Disney World fans out there, the Batsto manse has Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion written all over it.
The General Store
When Joseph Wharton acquired Batsto Village, he moved the entrance to the General Store from the side of the building, which faced the Mansion, to its present location. During the 1800s, the store was usually open six days a week. Here, workers from the Village could purchase a variety of goods, ranging from fruits and vegetables to guns and farm equipment. — source
If you can remember back to the five day black and white challenge I recently finished up, this building has one hell of a porch. I didn’t get any color shots of it here, however, and in the shots below we’re left looking at the general store’s backside. The old country porch (think Old Country Buffet) was loaded with photographers and subjects maximizing the perfect lighting conditions.
The Batsto Village Grounds
Along the lakeside is one of the finest maples on the entire property (right there with the Mansion maple pictured above). Tall and regal it’s proven difficult for me to frame up and photograph. Pictured below, set behind the bench, we get but a glimpse of what this tree has to offer. So for now it is a subject that remains on the ever growing things to shoot better list.
Going into this post I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ve never done a comprehensive collection like this. Now that I’ve wrapped up writing and am tidying up the edits, I think I’m going to make this an ever growing collection of Batsto Village Fall Photography. Hopefully throughout the years ahead this post will continue to grow and evolve, showing more of Batsto’s Autumn splendor. In the meantime, if I get to pick a personal favorite so far it’s On the matters of hobbits.
Thanks for stopping by.